Jim O'Donnell, left, high-fives his daughter, a member of the OC Roller Girls junior team, as she skates by at halftime during a matchup with San Diego's Juvenile Dollinquents. (DON LEACH, HB Independent / February 19, 2013)

But because the junior league consists of girls as young as 8, she has reservations about how to handle the younger girls on the track.

"Part of me wants to not hit them, but we are protected and you just have to know your limits," she said.

Though not a typical sport, roller derby does have several similarities to the classics.

"Roller derby is an athletic pursuit, a fully-regulated game and a full-contact sport with rules and points, like any other game," Monterossa said.

It is played on either a banked or flat oval track. There are two key positions, jammers and blockers. The blockers from each team assemble themselves into a pack, where they stay tightly together. Any girl who gets too far away from the pack will receive a penalty. The jammers start behind the pack and their goal is to push past the pack and then lap them. Once they lap the pack, they start to receive a point for each girl they pass.

Monterossa compared it to football, where a person plays offense and defense. Fighting never happens, she said. But because it is physical, the league does take safety precautions.

"Not only do we train our girls how to roller skate, but we train them to play the game safely and effectively," she said. "We wear pads head to toe, a helmet, mouth guard, elbow pads, wrist guards and knee pads. We teach our girls how to fall and how to recover so the game can be played safely."

Shelton said that most of the women are working professionals, while most of the girls in the league are on their schools' honor rolls.

"These women can get training in different areas that they may be interested in, but aren't given the chance to explore in their professions," she said.

Many members also take a job within the league. Some are involved with marketing while others may sell tickets at the door.

The group is working on expanding the number of junior league games, including the new practice of opening for the adult games on Saturdays. The organization is also trying to start a men's league, called Manarchy, as well as a co-ed recreational league.

Shelton said the women and girls who are in the league now are really the pioneers of the sport.

"I believe we are where skateboarding was 30 years ago," she said.

JENNIFER LANE is a freelance writer.

If You Go

What: OC Roller Girls

Where: The Rinks — Huntington Beach, 5555 McFadden Ave.

Phone: (714) 847-9097

Information: http://www.ocrollergirls.com or http://www.juniorrollerderby.org

Games: The next adult game is 5 to 10 p.m. March 16 at The Rinks

The next juniors home game is May 11 from 4:30 to 6:10 p.m. at OC Roller Skates, 1947 S. Main St., Santa Ana. That game will be followed by an adult game from 8 to 11 p.m.